April 13, 2015


Since 1859, when chair No. 14 was first introduced, more than 50 million units have been sold all over the world. It is made using a unique steam-bending technology, known as bentwood, that required years to perfect. With its affordable price and simple design, it became one of the best-selling chairs ever made.  Thonet's No. 14 was made of six pieces of steam-bent wood, ten screws, and two nuts. The wooden parts were made by heating beechwood slats to 100 °C (212 °F), pressing them into curved cast-iron moulds, and then drying them at around 70 °C (158 °F) for 20 hours.[3] The chairs could be mass-produced by unskilled workers and disassembled to save space during transportation, an idea similar to flat pack IKEA furniture.

Thanks to its low weight, attractive price and legendary strength, this chair quickly found its place in the cafes of Vienna, earning the nickname the "café chair".

When Michael Thonet first introduced his ‘Consumsessel Nr. 14’ in Vienna in 1859, he could have had no idea that it would become the chair with the highest production run of all time. Since then, the chair, is made of solid bentwood and has been in continuous production by Michael Thonet’s descendants at the firm’s headquarters in Frankenberg, Germany. 

Developed specifically to appeal and be affordableby to broad levels of the population, it was to launch Thonet's international reputation in the 19th century. Today, the company is run by the fifth generation of the Thonet family, direct descendents of Michael Thonet, in Frankenberg in North Hesse, Germany, Thonet's head office.

The chair can be found the world over – in private dwellings or in public buildings – in Asia, Australia, Africa, North- and South America and, of course, in Europe.

Often mispronounced "Tho-nay" the name is pronounced "toe-net" with a hard beginning and ending t.

Chair No 14, today known as 214, is still produced by Thonet.

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